Sunday, August 31, 2008

Team Ride Report, Last Day o' August

OK, first off, we had:

Jack C.
Scott P.
Linda T-P.
Dawn W.
Chris R.
Ross S.
John J.
Cindy A.
and, appearing for the first time, Kris C, all the way from Flint!

Now, please note that, counting Cindy in each group, Asheville riders outnumbered Death Valley riders 6-5! That's awesome, and a total testament to the way of this team that riders who are "done" for the year keep coming out to the team rides!

We met at Grand River Grocery, where we were hosted by Sarah Andro (with special guest Sophie and designated Team Baby Hazel). We got a bit of a late start, thanks to your humble scribe, here, who really ought to inspect his slowly-leaking rear tire in broad daylight rather than a dim garage. Sarah rescued me by stealing a tire from someone elses bike (Rob, I owe you a tire).

Anywho, we managed anywhere from 30-ish to 50-ish fairly hilly miles south of Ada, and returned to Grand River Grocery for really awesome burgers off the grill, and a whole mess of fixins, and then spent a couple of hours doing the team thing on the patio there.

Next week we'll be hosted by Cindy from her home in Cedar Springs, doing 62 miles. Rumor has it that we'll hit Fisk Knob on this adventure. And we'll have our coach back to keep us in line!

Another Perfect Ride!

There's no other way to put happened again! I told the folks @ dinner last night the exact same thing I told them in Asheville........that every time I head for another Ride to Cure I try and prepare myself for the fact that at some point there's gonna be one that isn't the best one ever! It's just got to happen, right?


Well.....perhaps, but not yet. Yesterday's ride had all the JDRF stuff we've come to expect in, passion, laughter, tears, smiles, sweat, sun, wind, hills, new friends, old friends, was ALL there! As tough as it is to sit in that damn van and watch everyone else ride - I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. I'm not sure what's going on........everyone felt that Sonoma set a new level.....then came Asheville and the same feeling.....and now Whitefish #1.

Makes me antsy to get out to Death Valley!

I wish I was riding w/ you guys today...........I'm ready to be home for a bit. Be safe, have fun and have a great weekend!


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Quick Whitefish Report

I should be in bed. I hafta get up in 4 1/2 hours to drive a SAG Wagon while 115 riders enjoy a perfect day out here in MT. I was on the way too, really I was, and then I got to thinking about tonight's dinner, and some of the things that were said and I just had to tell you guys before I crashed.

It never ceases to amaze me - the power and feeling behind the stuff that folks say from behind that podium. I'm not talking about what Tim St. Clair says, or me, or any of the JDRF Ride Staff. After all...we know we're gonna hafta get up there, we know it's part of the gig, y'know? I'm talkin' about when a rider (like our man Jack in A-Ville) gets up there. Someone that maybe doesn't talk to big groups all that often, if ever. Someone that they'd refer to as "jes folks" back where I come from. That's what's keeping out of that very inviting bed behind me......that's what I wanna tell you about.

Bear with me, okay?

A guy named Dan White from Maryland won the Yellow Jersey for recruiting the most riders. (10!!!) He told us that what he tells prospective riders is that we're gonna cure this damn thing and when it happens.............he's offering them a chance to be able to say, when someone asks "Who cured Diabetes?", 'We did".

Think about that for a sec, team mates. That's what we'll be able to say as well. Everyone knows that Sark cured polio.....but we'll know that we helped cure Type 1. We helped cure it for Jack, for Eddie Jasker, for Katie and Ellie, for Sophie and her Grandparents, for Lorna and David and Adam and everyone else that we know that's been touched by diabetes.

We helped do that. You helped do that. We'll do it together and we'll do it by ourselves and we'll do it in the saddle and on the phone and at meetings and Walks and about a million other damn things but's gonna happen and when it does.......

We helped do it.

Any questions about why you guys rock?

It's 2:10 am where you guys are and I hope that you are all asleep and things are great @ your house and in your lives 'cuz you deserve it. It's not fair that I get to come to Rides w/out you all and as much as I love to do it it ain't the same w/out you guys here w/ me so I cannot wait 'til there's a a bunch of us out in Death Valley! Sleep well, have a great ride this Sunday - I'll be thinking about you as I re-pack all those bikes that I just got unpacked yesterday and I'll be wishing that I was riding w/you guys.

I'll try to post a post-ride report tomorrow but don't hold me to that...there's lots to do!

You guys rock and I'm honored to be a member of this Team and the Ride to Cure Program.

Thanks for all you do!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another way to help JDRF

Thursday, August 21, 2008

MOST bestest!

So, who all's coming up to Montague to ride on Sunday? Looks like great weather, and I think they'll have excellent routes - probably some of the same roads we did for the Great Northern Ride a few
weeks ago, and also a lot we didn't do. Registration time is between 8 and 10; anyone got a time preference?


Monday, August 18, 2008

We came, we rode, we ate, we hung out...........

Yep, that we did! 'Twas a nice group that gathered @ Joe Schmeider's crib in Ada yesterday for a "hilly" little 45 miler. The weather was perfect, the route was a hoot and we had a ton of fun.

Roll Call:
Lin and I and
Special Guest and Prospective New Rider Tom Miller.

The burgers, dawgs, beans and various dips and salsas went down plenty fine afterwards as the Asheville contingent shared tales of huge climbs and even bigger fun last weekend.

It was extra-cool to see so many of our Asheville riders there.....keepin' their DV-bound fellows honest and working.

The ride scheduled to be hosted by Sara and Lorna in Cannonsburg this Sunday has been switched to 9/21 ro give both of them more time to recover from their respective injuries. As a result we decided yesterday to encourage the Team to ride the "MOST" Tour up in North Muskegon. The ride leaves from Nellie B. Chisholm Middle School in Montague and registration is from 8-10am. There are 25, 50 and 75 mile routes, lunch is provided and there are other food stops as well. Your 20 bux gets you a water bottle too! Let's talk this week about car pools and such and be sure to wear your 'Team Pink" kit!

More details @ or you can e-mail Bill Shouman (Melanie's Bro-in-Law!) @

I have apps here @ the shop too.

So...let's make a big fuss up @ this ride this weekend. The following Sunday (the 31st) we're having a ride from the Grand River Grocery in Ada hosted by Sarah Andro and her clan. I'll be in Whitefish but I'll be wishin' I was ridin' wit'choo guys! (Trust me! By Sunday morning I'll be up to my ears in bikes to re-pack for shipping home!)

TEE-SHIRT RE-ORDER IN PROGRESS - SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE! I'm gonna order a small run of the wicked hot West Mich Team Tee so lemme know if you wanna get in on it. Cost will be $7-ish per shirt and based on the splash they made in Asheville you might be able to sell a shirt or 3 either in DV or 'tween now and then maybe. Contact me at

THIS JUST IN! CHECK IT OUT! Our Team keeps rackin' up the press coverage as the rest of the world s-l-o-w-l-y figures out that we're the Right Stuff. Check out this article on Death Valley Vets Paul and Kathy:

Thanks again for everything that each and every one of you has added to our Team and the Program! You all Rock w/ a capital "R" and it was cool to see down in A-ville that everyone else in the JDRF universe is figuring that out!

Be well, ride safe and ride lots!

Type 1 Rider

Hey all:

My first post, so I guess I can say I finally consummated this JDRF West Michigan Blog relationship.

Anyway, I met a rider in Asheville who gave me a web site for Diabetic bike riders. I checked it out & it does have some really good information/articles etc in the Forums section. Check it out if you wish.

Nice to see everybody @ Joe's yesterday. Another great Ada ride (need to do more of those!).


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fun ride this weekend

Here's a chance for Asheville riders to do something completely different than last weekend. The 5 x 55 is a completely FLAT ride and only half the distance of the Asheville route. Plus there are adult beverages along the way. We will be assembling at the eastern end of the Musketawa Trail near Marne. Click here for a link to the trail web site and then click on the MAPS link. Assemble time is 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 16. Roll out is 12 noon. The sun sets at 8:46 p.m. so we want to start on time. Now you may be asking yourself "Eight and a half hours to do a 55 mile flat ride? What's up with that?" Well, on the way out we will be stopping at Fenian's Irish Pub in Conklin and the Ravenna Pub in Ravenna. The turnaround point is the Dog House Tavern in Muskegon. On the way back we hit the Ravenna Pub and Fenian's again. So bring some cash for food and drink. You may also want to bring a lock. Remember this is a self supported ride. No SAG, no massages, no women with hillbilly teeth. But it will be big fun. Use the comment area to let us know if you plan on coming. This is NOT an official JDRF event, so feel free to pass the word to other friends and riders.
See you Saturday.

Our Coach - The Hero

Just another story of how Coach Mike is totally awesome. About 77 miles into the ride, I realize my rear tire has just gone flat. I was prepared and quickly pulled out my spare tube, tire wrenches and air cylinder (I carried 2 air cartridges and Scott carried a hand pump). Unfortunately, try as I might, I was having alot of trouble getting the tire off the rim. Mike appears within minutes and quickly has the tube changed - a pinch flat. True to my history, I end up with a second flat as the tube is pinched during reinstallation. Mike again changes my tube and the foot pump from the SAG wagon helps this time. Once again we are off and riding. Without the support of Mike, I may have still been there trying to change that tire when the ride was supposed to end at 5:30. My lesson: practice changing you own tire (especially after you get a new one) and bring along an awesome Coach to help you out.
Smiles possible because of the Coach!

Monday, August 11, 2008

JDRF'in A!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


When they called me up to the microphone @ dinner on Saturday night I had NO IDEA what I was gonna say. Oh sure - I had a "script" that Aly had prepared but my complete inability to follow it the night before rendered it somewhat less-than-reassuring. I had my little idea for a toilet joke (you'll hafta ask someone - you kinda had to be there) but other than that........nothing.

I think that what I said was that this was my 10th or 11th Ride and that I was prepared for one to eventually not be the coolest one ever.

Not this one though!

Despite the presence of better writers on the opinion of my "coach's duty" is to go first - just like into the hot tub and in the line for the FRICKIN' WICKED AWESOME neckrubs from Heather "More than just a Podium Grrl" Allegrina-Bowe. Hey - it's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it, right?

Basically, this Ride was pretty dang much perfect. The weather, which was threatening 90+ temps and humidity a few short days prior was 80-ish, low-to-no humidity and calm. Sunny enough to help you develop those weird tan lines that we covet but just enough clouds to give ya a break now and then.
The route was bee-yo-ti-ful, despite the aforementioned Tour de Toilets, an odor-iffic jaunt past the waste treatment plant and climbs the like of which most of us had never seen! To say this was a tough ride would be to tax my limited grasp of the art of understatement. Especially from mile 20 on this baby was a killer!
The Team was perfecty awesome! As far as I can remember (cut me a little slack - it's been a l-o-n-g weekend!) Brian, Chris, Scott, Kristen, Mike, Jamie and Mark all set personal distance records and on that course that ain't no small feet! Everyone rode well - but that's such a tiny fragment of our Team's impact on the weekend that it's as if it was a foregone conclusion. To put it simply and crudely - we are the shit. Seriously -the regard with which the JDRF staff, volunteers, coaches and riders hold the West MI Team is pretty dang cool to behold. Ask Brian about the 2 dudes from MA that apologised for "holding up the West Mi peloton" on Friday. Read the last line of the nomination I got for coach of the Ride that says "Mike's entire team was very friendly and inspiring". Look around the room at dinner and see all the blue shirts. Watch the Michigan folks embrace their team mates (whom they've not met yet) from Il and make them feel like part of the family. See the tears on virtually everyone's face when Jack stands up at the mic on Friday night and tells the assembled crowd why he's riding and what this means to him. (I asked him @ dinner the night before!)
I'm SO proud to be part of this Team. You guys are special, I've know that for a while now and it's cool that everyone else is figurin' it out too!

Okay.......let the stories and pic-sharing begin! On to Death Valley! See everyone (hopefully!) at the Team Ride this Sunday @ Joe Schmeider's place in Ada! We would especially appreciate the honor of riding w/ our Kick -A ville teamies!

Thanks again. Great job everyone!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Kickin' Asheville!

Well, it was basically a perfect day down here for the entire Ride Program and our team. Perfect weather ....basically a late-September day for this area.....temps in the 80's, little wind, low humidity, partly cloudy................PERFECT! A huge % of our team mates achieved their mileage goals w/ Brian, Linda, Scott P, Scott R and Chris all rackin' up their first-ever centuries and virtually everyone comin' across the line "safe, sound and smiling". We do have the "honor" of having the only broken bone of the entire Ride - Illinois transplant Nick Dunn went down on some gravel and busted his wrist. (At least that's the early diagnosis). His great attitude was not damaged in the least however and we'll see him again.

The powerful emotions of the weekend have been working their magic on everyone...we are closer to each other, have many new friends and I'm sure that we've recruited new riders.

I'm sure that there'll be plenty more to read and view............we'll all have tons of stories to share @ the next coupla Team Rides and plenty more to say on various blogs. It's been kind of a long day, we just got outta the hot tub and I'm ready to hit the sack - gotta l-o-n-g drive tomorrow!

Thanks for reading, thanks for caring, thanks for being a part of this crazy-cool thing that we're building!

Yours, MC

Sunday Ride

Hey all...I'm going to do a ride tomorrow afternoon from my house. So, for those of you who didn't get to have any fun in Asheville...come on over and ride with me!

I'm thining about something in the early afternoon. But, I'm open to moving that around to suit the needs of the people who want to attend. The earliest I could go would be about 11AM. And, I'm willin to go as late as is needed.

If we have a few people who are interested in 60sih miles, we could do the route from my house out to Grand Haven and back.

Comment on here or email me - ceningolmo @ if you are interested.

Asheville Riders

The day is finally guys have trained you butts off. Now its time to go out and enjoy yourselves.

Have fun. Ride safe. Remember to eat those little peanut-butter sandwiches!

Good luck today!

Friday, August 8, 2008

"A Good Day to be From West Michigan"

That's a quote from Brian Bowe's Twitter site, by the way.

And so it's a taste:

2 guys that we came up on during our short warm-up ride saying to Brian "You guys are the WEST MICHIGAN TEAM!?!?!? Sorry to be slowing down the WEST MICHIGAN PELOTON!"

Jack Clark bringin' the room to tears w/ his humble lil' "Why I do this" speech after dinner.

The whole Team absolutely cloggin' the (wide!) hallway w/ our Team Meeting -n-Helmet party.

Brock Ryan (the Ride Medic) getting into our circle as we went around the group introducing ourselves and saying "I'm Brock and I just wanna be adopted! This is awesome!"

Realizing that the next largest team here (after us w/ 24) has 4 riders.

Your trusty scribe being honored w/ the Yellow Jersey as best recruiter in what had to have been a miscount.

It's been a wicked awesome weekend and we've yet to ride more than 10 miles or so. The weather is perfect, our new friends and team mates are great and I can't wait 'til tomorrow!

Everybody's talkin' 'bout JDRF's Coolest Team!

Stay tuned!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...."

(That's the first song I learned on the gee-tar, by the way)

So........7:20 (or so) on Tuesday Night, the 5th day of the 8th month of the year 2008. The trailer sits not 30 feet from where I do - stuffed to the gills w/ 21 bikes, duffles, tools and the other bits and pieces that belong to a group of people that I feel very privileged to call friends.


Full circle, in a way.

It was just 3 short (but packed!) years ago that the Asheville Ride to Cure was witness to the first-ever appearance of the brand-spankin' new West Michigan Team. Derek was there. And Ann. And Andrea, and Julia, and Maria and Brian and Mike and Rod (get well soon, buddy!) and Stacy. (Oh yeah - and me). The weather was "iffy"...kinda wet and not all that warm. I remember that Ann had her jacket on for the whole ride. I had no idea what I was doing or even what I was supposed to do but somehow we had this powerful, awesome and life-altering weekend and we are. Some of those folks are still on the Team, som ehave been (and hopefully will be again) and some, sadly, we don't get the pleasure of riding with these days. far as I'm concerned they'll always be on the Team and due to that, they'll always have a chunk of my heart. I swear I have NO idea what I'd be doing if I'd said "no" when Ann called me all those months ago. (I had every intention of doing just EXACTLY that, just not to Ann) I've had a significant percentage of the best moments in my 51-some years with this Team at these Rides and having missed out on that would have sucked at a level that does not bear contemplation. safe Team mates! I'll see you down in NC and we'll have us a time! As for you DV-ers, and any other Michigan-bound members of our extended family - you be safe too! Fear not, we'll represent ya'll well down yonder 'neath that Mason Dixon Line and we'll come back w/ the bar raised and w/ stories to tell!

Gotta go! Lots to do before we hit the road and even more to be done once we hit A-Ville and I wouldn't have it ANY other way!


And They're Off!

So, the Ashevillians are either already headed that way, or will be soon, so:

Kristen and Michael and Jamie and Nicholas and Paul and Steve and Boon and Rip and Brian and Scott and Chris and Dawn and Kevin and Cindy and Matt and Joe and Andy and Brenda and Herb and Scott and
Linda and Carmen and Mark and Peggy and Jack and of course Head Coach MC, and all the people who are going along as supporters and volunteers - in every possible way that you can, Enjoy The Ride!

And for the rest of us, Brian will be at least trying to Twitter his way through the ride, so follow along at Start time is roughly 7 AM Eastern time...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Awesome Day!

What a wonderful day yesterday! After the last riders had to pack up and depart, I shared with John that this day has become my favorite day of the year. It is the one day of the year, for me, that everyone I am surrounded by truly knows first hand or understands what it is like to live with Type 1 diabetes. I am so inspired by the kids that do what is required to manage their diabetes, in awe of the parents that are there to support them and so grateful for all the others that just want to help us find a cure! As Tom Scheidel said yesterday, all these kids grow up and the diabetes does not go away. So, thank you to everyone that came out yesterday and is dedicated to our common cause. Coach Mike, your proved again yesterday what makes you a world class JDRF coach; you led the early ride, led the main ride, managed a downed rider, and then went back out to ride in with the rest of the team. Personally, I can't believe how far this team has come since 2005! I can't wait to be back on the road with you in 2009. To all of you headed to Asheville - ride safe and ride strong knowing you are part of Team West MI!

'Nother Great Ride, 'Nother great Day!

Man, the hit's just keep on comin', y'know? Yesterday's ride took place on the perfect day and at the perfect place! Thank's again and again to our hosts, John and Ann O'Connor for their hospitality, food and the perfect setting. When the 8 of us "early bird riders" rolled up it was pink jerseys as far as we could see! I never was able to get a head-count but I'm willing to take a shot @ it right now......apologies if I missed you! (I'm a little sun-baked!)

Tom and Mary
Herb and Brenda
Scott and Linda
John and Janet
Brian and Heather
Steve and Katie
Trike Mike
Kevin O
Lin and I.................that might be it.

We did a 45 mile loop from Ann's, heading south then working around past Hutchin's Lake, into Feenville, across the iconic New Richmond Bridge, over to Saugatuck, through Douglas and back. The only "down" note was when Sara and David wiped out on those horrible RR tracks south of Fennville. He was okay but she might've done some significant damage to her shoulder (and cracked her helmet). Lin and I went back for the van while Chris waited w/ her. Hopefully she'll have good news for us today!

Back @ the ranch it was as much sun, snacks, cool clear pool water and fellowship as you could handle! We hung out all afternoon w/ our numbers bolstered by the arrival of many more members of our Team's extended famiily. Then, as goodbye's were exchanged and coolers re-packed a few of us fools "chamoised up" for the ride back to Holland.

All in all...........(except for the crash)...a perfect day!

Man, hard to believe that this week is Asheville! Your guys have worked hard and we are ready! I can't wait. I'll see everyone either down there, here at the shop when you drop off your bike or @ the Team Ride! (8/17 from Joe Schmieder's in Ada)

You guys are the BEST! Thanks for all you're doing. Let's go have a great time in NC!


Tweet Tweet

For those of you who wondered what the Sam Hill I was doing with my cell phone every time we stopped yesterday, I was microblogging on my Twitter site. Twitter's the new hotness -- 140-character blog posts, intended for bite-sized little updates called "tweets."

I've just been messing around with Twitter, and I thought it would be a good way to chronicle my ride in Asheville. So my intention is to post updates from the rest stops. Unless I don't feel like it (in which case, I won't).

(Note: if you look at my Twitter site, you'll notice my super-impressive ride home with Jasker, MC and Heather had a less-than-impressive ending. I needed to drink way more than I was, and I ended up having to be picked up from the coffee shop in Saugatuck. But at least I tried....)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Say Cheese!

Hey Kids!

I've been chasing the "cycling reporter" from the Holland Sentinel (yep-they actually have one!) for 2 years to do an article on JDRF's Coolest Team and it's finally happening. Jim (the aforementioned reporter) will be down @ Ann's to get some pix as we roll out so make sure you don't have any food in your teeth or underwear showing!

Other than's shaping up to be an All Time Show Stopper of a day! Perfect weather, big turn out, leftover popsicles.............what more on this green earth couldja ever wish for?!?!?!?

See you tommorrow gang!